Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'm angry.

And it's not fake, funny, "oh it's for the blog" anger.  It's real anger: hard, cold, and black.

It started as nothing more than a whisper and a rumor.  But, I was still worried.  And I was right to be.  Because on Monday, it became official.  And there's video proof.  MTV is destroying "Skins."

A loooonnnngggg time ago, I talked about Skins.  But, since most of you are newer readers, I'll summarize.
Skins is one of my favorite TV shows. Ever.  EVER.  I put it up there with MSCL, Freaks and Geeks, and Mad Men.  
And I'm not the only one who thinks it's amazing. Skins continues to win BAFTA's (British Oscars) year after year.

Listen, I hear you.  I read your comments and facebook feedback.  I know that Americans re-make British shows all the time. And yeah yeah yeah we all loved the original office and yeah yeah we all love the American version too.  And so this should give me hope for Skins right?

But no.

And here's why.

They are changing NOTHING.  The new American version is a literal teleplay of the original. It is the exact same characters, names, plot lines, and even dialogue  for the ENTIRE season (the "curse words" and British slang are the only things being taken out.  And, no. The American Office isn't remotely the same. It started being different in episode two). 

And sure, you would think that copy-catting would make me happy.  But you would be wrong.  

See, Skins is written for a British audience.  It's dark and gritty and the humor that's in it is weird and twisted, and and at times, a little off-putting.  And American audiences don't know what to do with that.  In America, if anything is weird or unsettling, we write it off as "un-cool" and discard it immediately.  And, it's for this very reason that I think the US Skins will be a huge, huge failure.  

Take the Mad Twatter story line for instance.  In Skins, "Mad" is a bi-polar drug dealer with a serious Napoleon complex.  That in and of itself will be strange for American audiences.  Add to it the fact that Twat means "vagina" in the UK, and there's the first of many jokes Americans won't get. Then there's the fact that they are playing off the idea of the "Mad Hatter" as well.  See?  Nothing's translating.

And then, there's the culture of the show itself.  Skins is about 16 year old kids who are in what is called "Sixth Form" which basically means they are high school seniors.  Let me spell this out for you.  Kids in England grow up quicker.  You are a legal adult at 16.  It's the age of consent.  You can do everything but legally drink at 16 (drinking starts at 18).  You basically graduate from high school at 16.  And, the final thing...not everyone in England goes to college.  Lots of them just get jobs.  Either way, after Sixth Form, you move out of your "house" and are on your own.  You don't start your financially independent life at 21/22 like we do here in the States.  You do that at 16.

So, yeah. They party waaaayyyy harder and way earlier than we do.  Rave culture is huge. Drugs aren't as demonized and some are even partially legal.
In America?  NO ONE will buy into a show where the kids act like they do in Skins because most American kids don't act that way at that age.  They aren't that autonomous.

And the other problem?

Skins is hard-fucking-core. There is nudity. And explicit sex scenes. And they use the word "fuck" like it's nothing.  Throughout the series there is death, and disease, and evil.   And the characters are shitty people who do shitty things to each other.  And episodes don't end with nicey-nice resolutions.   In short: Skins is REAL.

"...Skins goes where Gossip Girl and other teen dramas from these shores wouldn't dare."-San Francisco Chronicle
"If only American shows had half its guts."-Entertainment Weekly

Watch the above trailer for the original British version.  See? Now try and convince me that the US version won't pussy out.

Here's the thing.  I don't want to turn you off from Skins.  In fact, if you can approach it with the understanding that it's a show rooted in a different culture, you will LOVE it.  And that's a promise.  And if you want to try and prove me wrong, log on to Netflix now. You can watch Skins free and instantly.

But America needs to leave it alone. Or, if they don't, at least change it for a US audience. To do anything else is just plain disrespectful.

(Please note: All the previous images are from the Original UK version of Skins.  EXCEPT this last image, which is from the American version. Oh, bless their sweet little hearts. This is them trying to be "edgy."  Aren't they just so precious. You can smell the "Try" from a mile away.)

(P.S. Lena and both better back me up below).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This blog entry is my very first reader request.

I know! I'm excited too.  But, because I'm excited, and haven't blogged in a while, this one will be a bit longer than usual. (But really, you should stick's a fun will be fighting with me for sure).

So the story goes something like this. A few days ago, a message appears on my wall with this picture:

followed by this demand: "Discuss."

Oh, boy. Can I discuss? As Barack would say: Yes, I can.

"Glee Girls Do Racy Photo Shoot!"

It was the headline on all the major news outlets a week ago.  And it's right at the headline that I start having problems. Because, no.  It's not "the Glee Girls" doing the photo shoot.  It's TWO Glee girls doing the photo shoot.  One of whom is a blonde-blue eyed Arian and another who has an eating disorder (we'll get to that in a minute).  

If you've watched Glee, you'll know that there are MANY Glee girls.  In fact, two of them are the "Other" major characters.  There's the wonk eyed Asian and the fat black girl.  "What? Wait! Leanne, that's racist."

You're mother fucking right it's racist.  Because that headline should have read: "Socially Acceptable (and therefore White and Skinny) Glee Girls Do Racy Photoshoot!"  Because THAT is what that's about.

Amber Riley (who plays Mercedes on the show) has the best voice of all those bitches on Glee.  But does she get to strut around and show off her curves? No.

Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) has been acting on Broadway longer than any other young cast member and is considered a theater veteran.  But, sorry. GQ wants big, doe-eyed girls only.

So, yeah. I think GQ fucked up.  They are a xenophobic, racist, and misogynistic magazine.

But, it's not like we didn't know that already.

Of course, to add insult to injury, there's a second problem: Lea Michele.

This girl is out of control. And I mean this quite literally.  Someone needs to intervene because it's getting ridiculous.

Last year, Michele was a normal, healthy, and I personally would even say a tad under "normal" weight for her height and general body structure type.

(Lea last year).


Sick. Disgusting.

That is some SERIOUS weight loss.

(And another one for those of you who will try and tell me it's the camera angle. It's not.)

But no no no no.  When asked recently by SEVERAL reporters if she's lost weight or "felt the pressures" of Hollywood, she denied denied denied with the excuse that "because rehearsals and shooting are so strenuous, she decided to adopt a Vegan diet FOR ENERGY."

Fuck-cuse me? You have eliminated ALL ANIMAL PROTEIN for NO OTHER (ethical, political, religious) reason than to INCREASE energy?  Bitch, please. You are just trying to restrict your calories.

And, for those of you who are doubting me right now, let me run this one by you. Recently, a very reliable journalist just found out that Lea Michele PASSED OUT on set.  I mean, she fell over and blacked out.  She was dehydrated and mal-nourished.  Why?  Because, on average, she eats 800-1000 calories a day in addition to singing and dancing for a living and then visiting the neighborhood gym 4-5 times a week after work.

"But!!! She looks SOOOOOO pretty and fit!"

No, she doesn't. She looks sinew-y and hungry.  And like her leg tendons are going to snap at any second from over-training and muscle wastage.

But, again.  It's not like she or GQ are totally to blame.  After all, WE as a society celebrate those who are super thin. Just like we celebrate girls with long, flowy, un-nappy hair who have medium to light colored skin and general homogenized facial features. GQ is only giving us what we want.

Which is why the most recent outcry from the "National Conservative Stick Up Our Asses Parents Council" (or whatever it's  technically called) doesn't really phase or even bother me.

Hear about this one?
Right after the Glee GQ spread hit newsstands, no one said anything about the racial issues or the body image stuff. Nope.   Instead, a bunch of crazy right wing parents could only take issue with the fact that the spread could be considered "child pornography."   The F-ck?!!!!

BOTH of the female actors are well over 18 (24 and 25, I think).  And the characters they play are also 18 (Seniors in High School).  So...once you take those two facts into consideration, this is what the Parent Council is left with:

"Anyone who ever dresses in flannel skirts and knee high socks, or actually, anyone wearing anything that the resembles clothing of a young college co-ed or prep. girl, is actually promoting child pornography and should be burned at the stake."

Well, I guess you all need to light me on fire then.

See, again... this is my main problem and also my main point: the things we SHOULD be mad about, we're not.  And yet, the asinine, totally non-sensical stuff, we blacklist or ban.

So, really, the GQ spread is not GQ's fault.  WE'RE TO BLAME!

No, really. Let me repeat that one for you.  WE are all to blame for the shit that comes out of the media.

Take the MPAA, Blue Valentine, and NC-17 ratings for example.

Last week, the highly touted film Blue Valentine got slapped with an NC-17 rating.  Which, in the film world, means "NO DISTRIBUTION."

Technically, it means the film is not allowed to be seen by anyone in any circumstance who is under 17. But, what it really means is that no movie theater or movie theater group is going to pay to carry a movie with "that kind of reputation."  They know it won't sell many tickets (aka. make the theater money).  So then, why would a distributor pay a movie studio for a film that won't sell?

Here's the thing though. Apparently, "the scene" that is garnering Blue Valentine its "X" rating is NOT worthy of it.  In fact, critics have been so outraged by the rating, that they have taken to the blogs to defend the film.

Here's how the plot goes: Blue Valentine is about an awesome, wonderful, head-spinning relationship that, in the end, doesn't work out. (Please tell me you weren't just surprised...I mean, the plot of the movie is in the title for fucks sake).

At one point, in a final attempt at saving their relationship, the two main characters go off for a lover's weekend. Except "She" doesn't want to have sex. So "He" pushes her to, until she caves. And then she cries and hates it and is miserable the whole time and it's obvious that they're over.

And the MPAA calls this a graphic rape scene that warrants an NC-17 rating.


Hilary Swank's character gets ass-raped and then gets her head blown off.  R-rating.

The "Human Centipede"?  Scientist connects various women's asses to other women's mouth's, joining them through re-routing their gastric systems and making them walk on their arms.  R-rating.

"Saw"?  The 2 hour continuous and systemic torture of women whose tits hang out of their tank-tops while they gasp and scream like you would during sexual climax except their fingers are being ripped off one at a time.  R-rating.

So, fuck you MPAA.  A man and his wife having sex issues just doesn't even come close.

But then, how do we, THE VIEWING PUBLIC (!), change this?

Well, first you can start by watching the incredible documentary "This Film Is Not Yet Rated."

It's currently streaming instantly on Netflix and is truly an eye opener.  And then, you can start going to your closest "art house" theater and supporting real, daring, and quality films (regardless of their rating) with your pocket books.  And you can stop paying to see people degraded and brutalized in main stream cinema under the banner of dubiously assigned, safe "R"-ratings.

And, since I know a lot of you will ask, I'm including the trailer for Blue Valentine.
But be warned. It's a truly SHIT trailer.  I think they must be trying to "draw" in all the "Garden State" viewers before the NC-17 rating becomes "public."  I mean, really?  You're "tap dancing"?  As in,  Natalie Portman's fucking repugnant MPDG  "I can tap dance, Do you wanna see me tap dance?" moment in Garden State.  UGH!

 What an awful way to cut a trailer.  Because the movie is supposedly amazing.  Like, maybe too good.  As in, I might not be able to hurt that hard for that long and be okay for the rest of the evening. Plus, Ryan Gosling is already a weird alien hybrid of my husband...couple that with the scarily similar way he cups her face while kissing her and holds his body against hers...nope, I can't. Too close to home.

Sound off below!